Kirkuk, IRAQ – Ten Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists were killed today in a special security operation to eliminate terrorism in the oil-rich Kirkuk province, pro-government forces have announced.
In a statement, released by Baghdad Today, the media service of al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) said, “troops of the PMF’s 11th brigade and intelligence officers carried out a security operation to hunt for Islamic State militants at Khirbet Aziz village in Hawija, southwest of Kirkuk.”
“The troops killed 10 ISIS militants in the operation,” according to the statement, adding that the manhunt operation will go on as scheduled to eliminate the remaining ISIS cells across Kirkuk, Iraqi News reported.
In October, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared that Iraqi troops recaptured Hawija, a main town held by Islamic State in the country.
The town had fallen to ISIS in June 2014, when the militant group seized control of much of northern and western Iraq and proclaimed the creation of a self-styled “caliphate”.
There, Islamic State’s reign forced thousands to flee to refugee camps, while hundreds had been executed by the group for attempting to escape the area or contacting security forces.
Meanwhile, six ISIS terrorists were killed as the U.S.-led Coalition launched an airstrike in west of Anbar, Iraqi News reported.
“Fighter jets of the U.S.-led Coalition shelled a vehicle of Islamic State in Wadi al-Qathf region in Rutba, west of Ramadi,” the source from Anbar Operations Command told AlSumaria News.
“The shelling left six militants killed and the vehicle destroyed,” the source, who preferred anonymity, added.
Earlier today, a security source said three Islamic State members were killed as the Coalition jets shelled an Islamic State tunnel in the desert, southwest of Rutba.
Thousands of ISIS militants as well as Iraqi civilians were killed since the government campaign, backed by paramilitary troops and the coalition, was launched in October 2016 to fight the militant group.
Abadi announced in December full liberation of Iraqi lands, declaring end of war against IS members. However, Islamic State continues to launch sporadic attacks across Iraq against troops. Security reports indicate that the militant group still poses threat against stability in the country.
Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops, have been fighting since October 2016 to retake territories Islamic State had occupied.
The war against IS has so far displaced at least five million people.